The 50 Greatest Video Game Villains Of All Time

Credit: Matt Becker (compilation); Capcom, NetherRealm, Nintendo (artwork)
Credit: Matt Becker (compilation); Capcom, NetherRealm, Nintendo (artwork) /
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Illusive Man
Credit: BioWare /

Greatest Video Game Villains – #11 Illusive Man

Game(s): Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect 3

Background: The Illusive Man is the secretive leader of the pro-human terrorist group Cerberus. Seen donning an open suit with silver hair and steel-blue eyes, the Illusive Man gives off “millionaire swag” vibes while sitting in his empty office. In Mass Effect 2, the Illusive Man brings back the main protagonist Commander Shepard after his death in the first game. He uses Shepard to launch his campaign to wipe out the Reapers, including sending him on a couple of suicide missions. The Illusive Man tries to later convince Shepard to completely wipe out the entire race of Collectors, leaving the decision up to the player. In Mass Effect 3, the Illusive Man continues his political games of trying to take control of the Reapers, including instigating civil wars. He even implants Reaper nanotechnology into his soldiers and himself in an attempt to make them stronger. No matter the choices the player makes, the Illusive Man dies at the end of the game after a final encounter with Commander Shepard.

Why He’s One Of The Greatest Video Game Villains: While the Illusive Man is not a physically powerful villain with super powers, he is one of the most frightening villains in video games due to his realistic nature. Xenophobia and racism, which are fundamental to the Illusive Man’s ideological beliefs, are unfortunately still major issues in today’s world. The Illusive Man is not blindly blowing up planets or launching full-scale warfare for the sake of seeing the universe burn. The Illusive Man is acting on what he thinks is best for humanity, and it is up to the player to decide whether or not they want to side with him or against him. He is a unique villain in that he is meant to invoke moral dilemmas within the player and make them think about the repercussions of their actions. The Illusive Man’s thought provoking actions and his relevance to modern-day events and politics earns him a spot as one of the best video game villains.

Next: 10- Psycho Mantis